Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

First let us wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Tomorrow we should all take a moment to think about what we are thankful for. My thoughts are a little bit different since we have been here. We are both very thankful for the opportunity to be able to do what we are doing. I think we have really taken CARE to heart. Some of the folks you can't help but love. I hope to have some pictures soon to introduce some of them to all of you.
Some of us lady volunteers have been very busy getting ready to give everyone a nice day. Jan and Lorna have made a bunch of pies, and roasted turkeys and hams. Today I peeled about 35 pounds of potatoes. That's only about half of what we will need. We have about 20 pies now. Some of the residents have furnished some. I'll make candies sweet potatoes, we'll also have plain for our diabetics. Lots of folks are bringing a dish to share. On holidays it's nice to have a favorite. Makes it almost feel like home. Someone is bringing rutabaga. Tom will be happy. You should see all the stuffing that was made today! All that was going on while I peeled those potatoes. Took me a while! It looks like we will have somewhere around 90 people to feed. The biggest they have ever had here. That includes family guests and board members. I'm really happy to be part of this. I miss cooking for family.
I almost forgot. Today I also cooked 77 hamburgers. That was dinner. Our main meal is at noon. With trying to get tomorrows dinner ready, and getting the regular meals together, we all chipped in to help. The week-day cook, Miss Terry, (every lady is Miss here), was helping all over the kitchen. I kind of just got stuck in front of the grill, with a big bowl of hamburger, and started to make them. The next thing I know, Miss Terry says to me, "Count them as you go. We have to have 75." Well, the big bowl made 77. Very proud of myself I am. I cooked 77 hamburgers.
As you can see, I have had a very busy day. Tomorrow looks to be even busier. I know at home the ladies of the church were having a pumpkin roll sale. I had shown them how to make them before we left in June. They have told me they had lots of orders. I hope all went well. Ladies....I have been busy, too. Just not making pumpkin roll.
Well, I hope you all get to have a good meal tomorrow, and to all of our friends and family we will be thinking of you all.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Volunteering With Pleasure

This takes some explaining. When we first came to C.A.R.E., we were a bit overwhelmed with all of the rules, regs, and jobs we were to do. Let alone the hours we were to put in. Now I am reporting that all has changed. We couldn't be happier to be here. We have become good friends with other volunteers and many of the residents. Oops, they are participants. Everyone connected with this wonderful place is special. They all have their own stories. We have driven so many folks to appointments. Tom has been to Houston, Humble (pronounced Umble), and Cleveland, and more. We have visited Audio, orthopedic, podiatrists, hospitals, and you name it. Everyone is so grateful for anything we do for them. They are all wonderful.
Tom and I were talking today, we just don't know how we are going to leave here. Saying good-bye to these people is going to be really hard. We will be here till Jan. 3rd. It's hard to believe 1/4 of our stay is over already.
This morning when we were just finishing up our duties for the breakfast, the electricity went out. We had just turned over the phones about an hour earlier to Ed and Hazel. We had been on call for 24 hours. The phone started to ring. Some of the participants wanted us to know they had no electric. A couple of the regulars were outside, and heard a transformer go. Then we found out what really happened. A squirrel is now history. We all waited for about 45 minutes, and all was fixed. Tom and I came back to Emily, and settled in for the afternoon. We'll go back for super, and wipe the tables and chairs and vacuum the day room.
The reason we didn't eat Sunday dinner at the center, is because we had left-overs from Manny's. That would be Shrimp Boat Manny's. Tom ordered chicken and sausage gumbo. He also ordered a steak po' boy. I got fettuccine with craw fish. We also each had an order of steamed shrimp. He had hot, I had medium. All of this, after an order of mozzarella sticks with spicy dipping opposed to that marinara everyone else serves with them. I guess our eyes were bigger than our stomachs. Tom didn't even touch his sandwich, which came with fries. I also had food left. It wasn't as good today as it would have been then, but it was still good. I would recommend Manny's to anyone looking for food with the Cajun touch. If we have time while we are here, we will go again. Good service, good food, full tummies. Who could ask for more.
We had our first rain since we have been here. Thunder during the night wasn't to bad, and we really needed the rain. All is well now. Blue sky is coming back, and warmth has returned. How could it get any better? We have found a place that has good food, the most wonderful people, and we are learning from all the wisdom of the smart talented lovely folks we are here to help. We are truly blessed to be able to do what we are doing. I wish more could experience this. I think we have fallen in love with east Texas. Time will tell.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Escapees CARE Center

I know this has been a long time coming, but we have been very busy. We came in on Nov.1, and have been on the go ever since. We did have one day off, which we spent running errands and catching up on personal jobs. For those of you who have no idea what CARE is, here is the scoop. This facility has been a God send for RVers, who for one reason or another can no longer travel. CARE gives them the opportunity to still stay in their RV together, and receive the care they need. I guess you could say, it's like an assisted living facility. We provide all meals, a snack in the afternoon, root beer floats one day a week, and birthday cakes for those who get to celebrate another year. We have nurses, CNAs, activities directors, and lots for the folks to do. Poker games and scrabble are big hits. There is also bingo, art, sewing, crafts, and more. Everyday there is something fun to do.
Tom and I have done so many dishes, and sanitized our little hands off. It's like a joke with the sanitizing. We help the cook, do pots, serve the food, do dishes, chop onions, do dishes, make coffee, do pots, wipe tables do get the point.
Sometimes, we are on call. That means we watch the phones all night. All of the residents have a connection to the center. All we do is transfer the office phone out to Emily, and we are all set. Then we get up and open the center in the morning. We had no calls. No problems.
The folks here are just great. There's Pete (who is really Davida) who is an author and PhD. We have Bob and Inez who are sweet as can be, and very knowledgeable about anything. We have Miss Ellie, who loves to give hugs and kisses. She has to get both cheeks. Then she asks if she hurt you. What a sweetheart. We have Kieth and Sophie. Keith just lost his eyesight, and has been taking trips to the eye doctor. So many wonderful people. They are such a joy.
The staff here is remarkable. The nurse who has been here for 4 years, just left yesterday. She is going for her RN. She will be missed. Since we have been here, 2 couples have left. They were such a big help to us. Les and Sharon Askew, and Jim and Bonnie Wert and Scoobie. They have passed the torch to us and Hazel and Ed, who came a few days after us. A few more couples are coming in in the next week or so. Two couples just for maintenance. Every resident couple has a shed, and they need to build 3 more new ones. This will be the most residents ever in the center.
Yesterday Tom took a couple to Houston to the hospital for some tests. It was a long day for him. I guess I didn't tell you we also drive folks to appointments, or where ever they need to go. Some of the couples still have cars, which one can drive. Other than that, volunteers take them. Tom will also take them next week one day for follow-up. The hospital here in Livingston, sent them there for more extensive work.
Speaking of Jim and Bonnie and Scoobie, We just fell in love with Scoobie. He is part Lab and part Chow. I think the only chow park is his tongue. It has black spots. He was wonderful. We even asked if they could get along without him. We wanted to keep him. I always have dog treats with us, and one day we opened the door, and he was sitting there looking in at us. It was hilarious. Wait till you see the pictures. What a great dog!!!
On the days we work, we get our meals. On our day off we fend for ourselves. Today we won't eat even though it's free. It's tamale pie. We don't eat Mexican food. Tonight is ham salad and chicken salad sandwiches. We'll pass on that, too. On Friday morning, we serve a great big breakfast for the whole park. The CARE center is part of Rainbow Park. Headquarters for Escapees. Folks can come and get eggs any way, sausage, bacon, biscuits and gravy, grits, toast, all the coffee, juice and milk you can drink, all for $3.00. Everyone pays, even residents. All the money goes to the center. What a buy. Boy did I make lots of coffee today.
Tom will post pictures later. He is working at the moment. Pots for him today. More dishes for me tonight. They are all so appreciative of us all. Makes it all worth while.